Sea Of Class: A Big Year Ahead

Sea Of Class: A Big Year Ahead

Digging out the dust-covered notebook of the 2018 Flat Season, there will be many of us with different horses to look forward to upon their returns this season.

One horse - or filly in this example, that surely will not escape anyone's mind is the William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class, who many will recall finished such a brave and narrow second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at the back end of last season.

She was a filly who connections were happy to sit patient with, after they decided to bypass the Epsom Oaks having won a smart Listed race at Newbury on her first start as a three-year-old.

Striking at short-odds at the same venue where she portrayed her class once more, she was subbed into the Irish Oaks at the Curragh, where a perfectly-waited ride from James Doyle saw her steal the Group One prize from Forever Together in the dying strides.

The daughter of the great Sea The Stars then blew away older fillies in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire, before as mentioned, she just failed to emulate her father's exploits in the Paris highlight.

Nevertheless, it was a proud season to look back on for her connections, who will eye her up for many big races again this time around.

(Credit: Yorkshire Post) Trainer William Haggas said: "I think every race she ran in last year she improved on the previous race, and her defeat in the Arc was probably her best run.

“Her run in the Irish Oaks was a terrific ride by James (Doyle) as much as a great run.

"That was her first season racing and she has only had six runs. Hopefully this year she won’t deteriorate. She certainly looks stronger and her movement is good and everything seems to be on schedule.

“I don’t think she was winning races last year because she outstayed them, it was because she was quicker than them. I think she is pretty versatile as regards to her trip," he said.

The Yorkshire-born Haggas was speaking as previewed the new Flat season, and identified what her targets could be this year.

“There are two races in May for her, the Middleton at York or Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. She has won over a mile and a quarter already and she has got plenty of speed.

“Everything will be geared towards Paris, but we have a few mountains to climb before that. In an ideal world I would like to run her in the Middleton and then the Prince of Wales’ at Royal Ascot.”

All roads appear to lead to Longchamp once again it would seem, where she would once again oppose the dual-winner of the race Enable, who will be in search of a historic hat-trick.

Sea Of Class will have to give up her claim as a three-year-old this time around, but will surely go into the big race in October with much more experience under her saddle.

The two British fillies will have the Japanese star Almond Eye to contend with - should she make the trip to France.

The Japanese Triple Crown Winner proved her domination in front of the world's eyes at Meydan's World Cup meeting two weeks ago, when she came through the Dubai Turf totally unscathed with Christophe Lemaire.

Sea Of Class will no doubt improve from her classic campaign, and we may even see a change of tactics this term that would see her a bit more prominent in her races.

As highlighted by her trainer, the Middleton at York and the Prince Of Wales at Royal Ascot look her likely early targets for the season.